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The Firearm Bill 2024

HHG Legal Group Associate, Richard Dewar, has provided a an update on the Firearm Bill 2024 (Western Australia).

The ‘safety’ is permanently on.

On 21 February 2024, the Firearm Bill 2024 (Bill) was released to the Legislative Assembly and on 21 March 2024, the Bill was introduced to the Legislative Council.

As of the date of this article, it is likely it will pass through unopposed.

So what does this mean for firearm license holders?

Changes to License

Current license holders will continue to hold licenses on an interim basis. Such licenses will be considered a transitional authority: section 411 of the Bill.

The Bill will implement the categorization of 8 different licenses depending on the proposed use of the firearms, such categories including:

  1. Individual License (for hunting, competition, and target shooting);
  2. Business License;
  3. Primary Producer License;
  4. Collector License;
  5. Club License;
  6. Range License;
  7. Trade License; and
  8. Government Entity License.

The Commissioner of Police may cancel the transitional authority if of the opinion that the transitional authority does not correlate to any of the licenses which the Bill will establish: section 412 of the Bill.

If the Bill passes in its current form, all license holders will most likely receive a direction from the Commissioner of Police to comply with any firearm authority requirement the Commissioner considers necessary: section 413 of the Bill.

For all future licenses and likely any renewals, as foreshadowed in our article of 25 January 2024 ‘too late to pull the trigger’, such applications will be subject to:

  1. Providing further information relating to the genuine reason for license: section 21 of the Bill;
  2. Information relating to the applicants health standards and require the person to be subject to medical examinations: section 148 of the Bill; and
  3. Further consideration of any application by the commissioner who may take into account:
    1. The person’s conduct and behaviour;
    2. The person’s physical and mental health;
    3. The person’s views, opinions and attitudes;
    4. The person’s way of living or domestic circumstances;
    5. Whether the person is of good repute, having regard to the person’s character, honesty and integrity;
    6. Their criminal records; and
    7. The person’s associates: section 150 and 151 of the Bill.

Property Letters

Under the Individual – Hunting license, the Hunting License authorises the licensee to use a firearm to which the license applies for the purposes of lawfully hunting on land which the licensee has approval, similar to current legislated requirements: section 36 of the Bill.

The land from which the licensee has approval to go hunting on must have been approved by the Commissioner of Police for that purpose: section 37 of the Bill.

The Commissioner of Police must not approve the land unless he is satisfied that:

  1. The land is located in Western Australia;
  2. The licensee has permission to engage in hunting as per their license; and
  3. The land is suitable for the use of the particular firearm.

For land to be approved by the Commissioner of Police, the authorized person (owner or as otherwise defined) must seek approval from the Commissioner of Police.

Approval for a licensee must obtain approval from the authorized person in writing: section 39(2). Such permission may be revoked:

  1. In writing from the authorized person at any time: section 39(3) of the Bill; and
  2. As per any further terms as set out in the regulations.

It is not clear whether current ‘property letters’ will suffice and in this regard it is likely that the current content of the property letters will not comply with the proposed legislative requirements.


Pursuant to the Bill, no longer is there any scope for the ‘friendly’ education of the use of firearms.

A person must not use a firearm unless that person is authorised to do so by a license or permit and such use is unlawful with such use attracting either a 7-year imprisonment term or 3-year imprisonment term and a fine of $36,000: section 217 and 218 of the Bill.

Further, if a licensee provides a firearm to an unsuitable person (including someone not capable for any reason of the safe use of a firearm) then that licensee also attracts a penalty of either a 7-year imprisonment term or 3-year imprisonment term and a fine of $36,000: section 295 of the Bill.

The Bill also seeks to prohibit the use of firearms by anyone under the age of 12 years: section 158 of the Bill. It is likely that any education of anyone under the age of 12 will attract penalties and fines similar to those contained within section 295 of the Bill.

Previously, it would be difficult to establish liability under these particular provisions, however under the Bill, liability may be slightly easier to establish. Please see below the information as follows.

Prohibition Orders

The Commissioner may make a prohibition order if the Commissioner is satisfied:

  1. The person is not a fit and proper person; or
  2. Possession would likely result in an unlawful use; or
  3. The person is a member of a disqualifying organisation; or
  4. It is otherwise in the public interest.

This is indeed a large scope in which the Commissioner has to determine whether or not a prohibition order may be made.

In the event a prohibition order is granted against a licensee, it is a crime if the person with whom a prohibition order is granted against enters or remains at:

  1. A place where a firearm, major firearm part, prohibited accessory, or ammunition is sold, repaired, or manufactured; or
  2. A licensed firearm range; or
  3. A firearm trade premises: section 327 of the Bill.

Further, it is a crime if the person with whom a prohibition order is granted against is in the company of a person in possession of a firearm, major firearm part, or ammunition, with such a crime incurring a penalty of 7 years imprisonment: section 328 of the Bill.

Information Reporting

The Bill also includes provisions for licensees to provide information to the Commissioner of Police concerning other license holders in respect of that person’s:

  1. Fitness in holding a license;
  2. Physical, mental, or emotional condition which is not in the interest or public interest for that person to have access to a firearm; and
  3. Any injury which has been sustained as a result of the use of a firearm: section 372 of the Bill.

Firearm Clubs are also required to report on new members, the refusal of any applicants, and the cessation of any members from the club: section 373 of the Bill.

Similarly, firearm collector societies are imposed with similar reporting requirements.

In the event any person reports any concerns relating to a licensee as per the above, they are provided anonymity in reporting this information and in most circumstances indemnity from any liability or breach of confidentiality: section 376 and 377 of the Bill.

Should the identity of the person be disclosed, any such person who breaches this section will incur a 2-year imprisonment term and a $24,000 fine.

The significance of these sections is that it ultimately means there is a significant risk that anonymous unfounded reports may be made and the identity of those people hidden, even if such accusations are false. There may not be any means of discovering who makes these reports as such disclosure may incur any ‘whistleblower’ a prison sentence and a significant fine.

Further, if the Commissioner of Police relies on this information and such information is proven to be false, such a decision (say in circumstances of domestic violence and ultimately a restraining order where firearms are confiscated) is not rendered invalid nor annulled. It stays in force: section 378 of the Bill.

The Regulations

It is anticipated the Firearms Regulations 1974 will be repealed.

The Bill proposed that the regulations will contemplate:

  1. The restrictions on the grant of firearm authority: section 142 of the Bill;
  2. Restrictions on the renewal of a firearm authority: section 184 of the Bill;
  3. Offenses and exceptions to offenses under the Bill: section 292 of the Bill;
  4. Storage of firearms: section 310 of the Bill; and
  5. Transition between the current legislation and the Bill: section 402 of the Bill.

However, a significant concern for all current and future firearm owners is the foreshadowed amended regulations are yet to be released.

In summary, there are many pitfalls and minefields throughout the Bill and as such, any new or existing firearm licence holder should seek advice as to whether they will either be able to keep their current firearm or meet the requirement to obtain a firearm authority under the proposed new laws.

If you require assistance with any of the information provided above, HHG Legal Group’s lawyers can provide advice to you and or your business to minimise your future risk.

Find out more

If you require assistance with any of the information provided above, HHG Legal Group’s lawyers can provide advice to you and or your business to minimise your future risk.

Contact us today, by emailing Richard Dewar or Matthew Lilly

Email Richard Dewar          Email Matthew Lilly

Submit an enquiry           Call us

*The information provided in this website serves as a general guide and does not constitute legal advice. It is based on our research and experience at the time of publication. Please consult our knowledgeable legal team for any specific inquiries or advice relevant to your circumstances, as the content may not have been updated subsequently.